Druid Arch via Elephant Canyon
5-7 Hour Hike
Canyonlands National Park
Druid Arch has been a bucket list hike for me for a long time. However, the hike is so long that I had to wait until the ideal time to attempt this hike. At 11.5 miles round trip, this hike took my two person group all day to complete.
To do this hike, you will need to start early. We left Moab in the dark and arrived at the Elephant Hill Parking area just as the sun was coming up.
If you get an early enough start, you will have the trail all to yourself on the way out. It is also important to note the parking area is small. If you arrive late, you could be extending your hike well past the parking area.
The farther into the trail you go the more pronounced the "Needles" become. If you are like me and like to explore, it is easy to get sidetracked by all of the cool rocks to climb on. But at 11.5 miles it is best to stay focused on the task at hand, getting to Druid Arch.
You must hike up and over several ridges of needles on the Chestler Park Trail before reaching Druid Arch Trail properly. Though there is a clear hiking trail along the edge of the wash, we found it more interesting to walk in the wash itself.
Elephant Canyon continually gets deeper and deeper as you near Druid Arch.
This is the scene just as you approach the arch. Most hikers will not see this view. We misread a hiking description that said a small scramble was required to reach the arch. This was an extreme scramble to get to this area. It boarded on rock climbing but the picture speaks for itself. This was also our lunch spot for the trip.
To get an idea of the size of this massive arch, first look at the size of the bushes near the 6 foot tall man in the center of this picture. Now look at the same size bushes near the base of arch.